The CMIRC was established in January 2009 by Prof. Jameel Inal, with initial funding from the Royal Society and NHS. Together with external collaborators/associate members, researchers with backgrounds in Immunology, Infectious disease (virology/parasitology) Cell Biology, Structural Biology and Molecular Biology and Genetics, now aim to focus their combined research efforts in Molecular Biology and Immunology to help further our understanding of the immunology of infection and cancer progression and to apply this knowledge for possible future therapies.The Centre has two main interests:
1. Membrane Vesicles (MVs) and exosomes released from cells, with the following applications:
(i) role of MVs in cell-cell communication, applied to haematopoietic cell differentiation in leukaemia and tumour progression and metastasis.
(ii) role of MVs (&/or exosomes) in host-pathogen (parasite, bacteria and viral) interaction and manipulation thereof to inhibit infection.
(iii) Genetics of MV release.2. Regulation of the complement system, with two major applications:
(i) how infectious agents (intracellular protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and extracellular parasite Giardia intestinalis) attempt to overcome this branch of immune defence, in particular the lectin pathway of complement activation, to establish infection.
(ii) how to therapeutically inhibit complement in autoimmune disease (where complement is misdirected against self). Our main tool at the moment is the complement-inhibiting synthetic peptide CRIT-H17, whose structure we have modelled.